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tiously conforming to the Established Church, or to any other system of Protestantism. For, independently of what is demanded of us by the Test, being also called upon to conform to the establishment by the Corporation Acts, which require us to take the sacrament according to the rites of the Church of England; there likewise arises a necessity for stating our reasons more generally for nonconformity to that Church.
In the First place, then, I cannot conform to Protestantism, because, as the Scriptures do not contain all things whatsoever Christ commanded his Apostles to teach,®) Protestants are not authorized in holding them forth as our only rule of faith, our only teacher. We know that there are also many other things which Jesus did [and of course said]; which, if they were written every one, the world itself would not be able to contain the books that should be written. We know that St. Peter testified with very many other words than those which were committed to writing; and St. John also informs his disciples that, having more things to write to them, he would not by paper and ink, for he hoped he should soon be with them, and speak face to face.com
There are numerous other instances in the sa
(d) St. Matt. xxviii. 19, 20. (e) St John xxi. 25.
V Acts ii. 40. (B) 2 St. John, 12.
cred writings of similar declarations, A) yet with such a knowledge of the rich treasures which came from the lips of our Saviour and his Apostles, Protestants argue as if they considered that nothing more was worthy of preservation but what was recorded, at a considerable distance of time, in the New Testament. What reason have we to suppose, that the doctrines which we hold by Tradition, were not those which were preached by our Saviour, but omitted by the sacred penmen? Because the scriptures are silent, are we to conclude that Christ was so too? It is no where said, that they were written for the purpose of containing a regular code of faith: they were written to edify, instruct, and exhort—not to be a sole and independent guide in matters of doctrine; to confirm, rather than to define, our faith. There are clearly other sources of historical evidence than written documents. If it pleased our Saviour to inspire the writers of the New Testament, (and which we do not know to have been the case, from the scriptures themselves, save in regard to the Apocalypse, though, indeed, many parts may be said to bear internal evidence of the
(h) Christ shewed himself alive after his passion, by many proofs, for forty days appearing to them [his apostles and disciples] and SPEAKING OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Acts i. 3.
hand of God,) so it has pleased him to guard uninjured and unbroken, by his particular providence, a chain of traditionary evidence. Is it not as easy for the Almighty, by a peculiar superintendance of his providence, to preserve the purity of his doctrine inviolate through the lapse of ages, as it was to inspire illiterate fishermen to preach that doctrine in the first instance? If Christ could inspire men to write and to preach, can he not equally inspire them, when sitting in judgment, relative to the verdict they are to pronounce? It is this superintendance of his Providence which has transmitted to us that part of his holy law which was not written, and which we reverence and obey equally with that which was, because they proceed from the same authoritythe authority of God.
Though the Protestant Church rejects the doctrine of Tradition, yet, amongst her numberless inconsistencies, she grounds a part of her creed upon it; namely, the sanctification of the Sunday, the validity of infant baptism, and indeed, the ground-work of all her belief, the authenticity and inspiration of her sole, independent rule of faith, the canonical books of the New Testament. For
(See Strictures on Dr. Marsh's Comparative View of the Churches of England and Rome, by Dr. Lingard. Booker, 1815.
it is traditionary evidence alone that can possibly prove, in most cases, the inspiration, and, in all parts, the authenticity and integrity of the Scriptures. In her xxixth article, the Church of England quotes St. Augustin for his opinion, and yet she rejects his evidence on other points. If he is worthy of belief in one case, the circumstances being the same, equal credit is due to him in others. But this she refuses, and not only to him, but to all who, like him, are the most fit to guide us in such inquiries, and to make us most intimately acquainted with the belief and doctrines of the Catholic Church, during the first ages of Christianity. It is not to be imagined with what reason, or justice, the evidence of such a constellation of the brightest luminaries of the Christian world, as the Fathers of the first ages of the Church, is refused? How is it possible that any deception can be practised, when we rely on the testimony of men the most virtuous and the most learned, of every age, and of every country, not only divided by distance of space, but by distance of time, yet all concurring in the same opinions ; men who could have no object in deceiving, but whose only aim was the elucidation of truth, and the maintenance of the Christian religion in its native purity. They could have no object in deceiving ; for, unlike the Reformers of the sixteenth century, they inculcated a just obedience to authority, instead of an emancipa
tion from it. They preached penance and mortification, instead of laxity of morals and criminal indulgence. In rejecting tradition, a chain of evidence is denied, calculated most infallibly to establish any facts or any opinions to be drawn from the testimony of man; and such demonstrative proofs are refused, as we should be ashamed to disown for the establishment of a point of history, or a matter of inquiry in any other cause. We do not rely upon the Fathers as the infallible oracles of the word of God; we quote them only as proofs of the doctrines of the Church in their own times : in this light, their evidence is most conclusive and unexceptionable, and as such they form a most invaluable traditionary history.
We have, at the same time, Scripture evidence to prove, that it was ordained by Christ that much of his doctrine should be handed down to us by tradition. Tradition gives us the sense, at the same time that it proves the authenticity and inspiration, of the sacred writings; and as Catholics alone have existed in all ages, so Catholics alone have the tradition of all ages in their favour. St. Paul says, to the Corinthians ; Keep my ordinances as I delivered them to you :(a) to the Thessalonians ; Brethren stand fast, and hold the Traditions, which you have learned by word, or by our Epis
(k) 1 Cor. xi. 2.